By Scott Phillips
Two couples dining at a restaurant illustrate the acceptance of the free
gift of Godís grace.
(Setting: Restaurant set with two tables, four chairs. MARK and LINDA
sit at a restaurant dinner table, just finishing their meals. CHUCK sits
at table on the other side of the room, with an empty setting across from
him. APRIL passes by on her way back to her table from the restroom and
notices MARK and LINDA.)
APRIL: Oh, hey, look who it is! Hi MARK , LINDA..
LINDA: Oh, hi! Funny seeing you here.
MARK: (looking around for him) Hey APRIL:. Is CHUCK here, too?
APRIL: Yeah, weíre sitting right over there.
(APRIL points over to her table and waves for CHUCK to come over to
them. CHUCK gets up from his seat and comes over to them.)
APRIL: Itís good to see you out having a good time.
LINDA: I know, itís been so hectic lately. We needed a nice night out.
CHUCK: (shows up at their table.) Hey there, whatís up, guys?
LINDA: Hi CHUCK:!
MARK: (they do a guy ritualistic handshake) Hey man, howís it goin?
CHUCK: (putting his arm around APRIL: ) Pretty good, pretty good. Canít
LINDA: Hey, maybe you two can help settle an argument.
APRIL: Sure, we can try.
LINDA: Did you watch American Idol?
APRIL: Of course. Didnít miss it!
LINDA: OK, so who should have been the real winner: Clay, or Ruben.
(CHUCK and APRIL respond simultaneously:)
CHUCK: : ďRuben!Ē / APRIL: : ďClay!Ē
(MARK and LINDA simultaneously:)
MARK: /LINDA: : ďThank you!Ē
(CHUCK and MARK shake hands and pound fists. The women shrug and roll
their eyes in disappointment.)
MARK: Thatís what Iím talkiní about!
CHUCK: Ruben was the man!
APRIL: Well, we better go before this gets too heated.
LINDA: Ok, weíll see you two at church tomorrow.
CHUCK: Ok, goodnight guys.
MARK: See you tomorrow.
(MARK and LINDA continue arguing (but soften their voices to only be
heard quietly) as CHUCK and APRIL make their way back to their table and
sit down. The waiter brings the check to CHUCK and APRIL . This waiter
is very excited, positive and full of energy.)
WAITER: So, whatídya think, folks? Did you save room for dessert?
APRIL: Oh, gosh, no. I couldnít eat another bite.
WAITER: Are you sure? Not even a Triple Chocolate Fudge Mountain Sundae,
or a Fresh Apple Crisp a la mode?
CHUCK: (puts his hand up to stop the waiterís list) Weíre fine. Just
the check please.
WAITER: Ok, super! Iíll get it for you.
(The waiter springs away. CHUCK takes the check and begins doing the
APRIL: It was nice seeing MARK and LINDA .
CHUCK: (consumed with math, pulling out his wallet) Yeah, I like them.
APRIL: Itís been so hard on them lately, with things being slow at
CHUCK: Yep, times are tough now for everybody.
APRIL: Yeah, but to quit your jobs and invest in starting your own
business? Thatís tough on a family.
CHUCK: Well, theyíre doing well enough to go out to dinner.
APRIL: I know, but you have to go out once in a while. Last week LINDA
was telling me they havenít been out in months. Itís about time they got
out and treated themselves.
(Meanwhile, MARK and LINDA hold hands across the table. They continue
talking and smile at each other, enjoying their date.)
CHUCK: (finally done with the math, looks up and has a ďlight bulbĒ
expression) You know, maybe we should cover their bill?
APRIL: Ya think?
CHUCK: Yeah, why not? We can afford it.
APRIL: Oh, that would be so nice. Yeah, we should! They would love
(CHUCK motions to the waiter (who is off stage). The waiter approaches
their table hurriedly.)
WAITER Ok, you all set?
CHUCK: Yes. But Iíd like to pick up my friendís tab over there.
(CHUCK points over to MARK and LINDAís table. The waiter glances.)
WAITER (surprised) Wow, the big spender this evening. Alright!
CHUCK: Theyíre not having dessert, are they?
APRIL: (dissapproving) CHUCK: !
CHUCK: (shrugs his shoulders) Well, Iím just asking!
WAITER Actually, no, they turned down the White Chocolate Raspberry
Cheesecake and the Creamy Coffee Tiramisu.
CHUCK: OK, but, uhódonít tell them until we leave, ok? I donít want
any argument about it. Kind of a surprise, you know?
WAITER (reaching into his apron for the bill) No problem, sir. Hereís
their check. (hands the check to CHUCK)
CHUCK: Thanks, and youíll be getting a nice tip out of this, too, donít
WAITER Thank you, sir! It was a pleasure serving you tonight!
(CHUCK takes a wad of money out his wallet, counts out some, and hands
it all to the waiter.)
WAITER Thanks a bunch. Now you all have a terrific night!
APRIL: Thanks, you, too.
CHUCK: You, too, man.
(The waiter bounces off. APRIL and CHUCK get up from the table. They
put their arms around each other and exit.)
APRIL: Boy, they will be so surprised.
(MARK motions to the waiter with the international ďcheck pleaseĒ signal.
The waiter comes over to them)
MARK: Weíre ready for the check now.
WAITER (beaming with pride as he gets to deliver the news) Actually,
sir, itís been taken care of.
MARK: Whatís this?
WAITER Youíre bill, sir, itís been paid.
LINDA: What? But how could - oh.
MARK: That sneaky little....
LINDA: Well, that was so nice of them!
MARK: (pulling out his wallet with disgust) Well, let me at least give
you a tip.
WAITER (puts his hand up, reluctantly) You donít have to do that, sir.
He took care of the tip, too.
WAITER You two have a nice evening, now. Buh-bye. (Exits) (hits himself
in the head) Man, I shouldíve let him tip me!
MARK: (not sure if heís happy or offended) Well, I canít believe that!
LINDA: Weíll have to write them a thank you card.
MARK: Forget that, Iím gonna pay him back tomorrow.
LINDA: Donít you think that would be kind of rude?
MARK: I canít just let him pay for us like that.
LINDA: Why not?
MARK: (getting angry) What, does he think I canít afford to pay for
my own meal? I mean, we came here, itís not like I didnít bring money!
LINDA: They were just being nice. Theyíre our friends.
MARK: Well, I donít know if Iím real comfortable with it. Letís invite
them out to dinner next week, and weíll pay.
LINDA: MARK, thatís not why they did it. Youíre getting all prideful.
Theyíre just being generous.
MARK: (getting up from the table) Yeah, well what goes around, comes
around, so Iím gonna pay him back.
LINDA: (also getting up) Fine, do whatever you want.
(They begin to leave the restaurant. MARK takes some money out and
puts it on the table for a tip, trying to hide the fact from LINDA as she
looks through her purse. They exit. The waiter approaches the table and
begins cleaning up. He sees the money on the table.)
WAITER (shaking his head) Some people just canít accept a free gift.
(Counts the money, shakes his head) Man, and a cheap tipper, too! (Puts
the money in his pocket, grabs the dishes and leaves.)
Copyright Scott Phillips, all rights reserved.
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